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Some of the most compelling evidence to date linking environmental conditions to birth defects was reported by a team of Norwegian researchers. The scientists tracked almost 10,000 mothers whose first children were born with congenital ailments, and found that such women suffer a much higher probability of having another baby with the same defect. But location -- and, by implication, environmental factors like toxins -- may substantially increase risks. Women who stayed in the same town were 12 times more likely than women in the larger population to give birth to another child with a congenital problem. Women who moved between pregnancies were only 5 times more likely to experience such births. The data may help explain the cause of ailments among at least some of the 150,000 American infants born each year with birth defects.parpar